Patriotic farewell to Legion chairman Bill

Photo Neil Cross
Funeral of RBL chairman and stalwart Bill Ashcroft at Burnley Crematorium
Photo Neil Cross Funeral of RBL chairman and stalwart Bill Ashcroft at Burnley Crematorium

A fitting and patriotic farewell has been given to Bill Ashcroft, respected chairman of the Burnley branch of the Royal British Legion.

Tributes were paid to Mr Ashcroft, who died recently aged 84, at his funeral service in St Catherine’s Church where Legion standard bearers welcomed the Union Flag-draped coffin.

Photo Neil Cross
Funeral of RBL chairman and stalwart Bill Ashcroft at Burnley Crematorium

Photo Neil Cross Funeral of RBL chairman and stalwart Bill Ashcroft at Burnley Crematorium

The Korean War veteran was well-known throughout Burnley for his tireless work for the Legion’s Poppy Appeal, helping to raise hundreds of thousands of pounds during his tenure.

Stepson Paul Hargreaves gave a moving eulogy in which he described Mr Ashcroft as a “true hero”.

He said: “We would all like to believe we make a difference in the world. Probably not many people do, but it’s clear that Bill Ashcroft did just that.

“He was a devoted family man. The world has lost a true hero.

Photo Neil Cross
Funeral of RBL chairman and stalwart Bill Ashcroft at St Catherine's Church, Burnley

Photo Neil Cross Funeral of RBL chairman and stalwart Bill Ashcroft at St Catherine's Church, Burnley

“He adored our mum Gillian and was truly devoted to her. To quote Batman, it is not who we are underneath but what we do that defines us.”

Mr Ashcroft’s successor as Burnley Legion chairman Mike Elliott then spoke on the difference his predecessor had made to the lives of service families in Burnley.

He said: “What a difference he made in the Legion. Many ex-service families are better off because of Bill’s welfare work.

“Bill would always say to families ‘I’ll do the very best I can for you’, and he did. He would always put in a superb report and never let anyone down.”

Hymns “The Lord’s My Shepherd” and “I Vow To Thee My Country” were sang at the funeral.

Mr Ashcroft also leaves stepdaughter Lisa Gordon, daughter Janet Ashcroft, as well as eight grandchildren.